By Manuel Azevedo, Chef/Owner of LaSalette Restaurant
Piri piri chicken or frango piri piri is one of the most famous Portuguese dishes outside Portugal. Piri piri chicken is now popular in many African countries, in Macau (where it’s known as African chicken), and in various parts of Europe, especially in areas with a strong Lusophone (Portuguese-speaking) community. You’ve probably even seen versions of piri piri chicken in many fast food restaurants around the globe. Of course, whole grilled piri piri chicken is popular in Portugal too, where you can buy it from many local restaurants or barbeque houses either “com” (with) or “sem” (without) extra piri piri sauce. This version is not too spicy, but save a little of the marinade to serve on the side for those who want to spice it up some more. You can grill or roast the chicken depending on your preference. Makes 8 to 10 Servings.
- 1 red sweet bell pepper
- Zest and juice of 2 lemons
- 6 cloves garlic
- 20 piri piri peppers
- 2 tablespoons grated ginger
- 1 cup flat leaf parsley leaves
- ¼ cup red wine vinegar
- ½ cup extra virgin olive oil
- 2 tablespoons fine sea salt
- Portuguese space blend: (2 teaspoons of paprika and a pinch each of ground cumin, cinnamon, also ice, cloves and nutmeg)
- 2 medium (4-pound) chickens, cut in half
- Piri piri sauce or other hot sauce
Place all the ingredients aside from the chickens into a food processor and mix until well chopped. Reserve some of this marinade and refrigerate it to serve as extra sauce with the cooked chicken. Place the rest of the marinade with the chicken in a plastic bag, mix it around, and refrigerate overnight.
If grilling the chicken, simply remove it from the bag, drain the excess marinade, and grill the halves on a medium grill until all the meat is cooked through and the skin is nicely browned and a little charred. If baking, preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and cook for 1 hour. Try to ensure the skin becomes a little charred (without burning it) as this is required for a more authentic flavor. You may need to broil it for a few minutes at the end to achieve this charred effect if you have roasted rather than grilled the chicken.
To serve: Cut the chicken into individual portions. Place the marinade, reserved from the previous day, and some piri piri sauce on the table for anyone who would like to spoon a little extra onto their chicken pieces.